Monday, November 30, 2009

God's Awesome Plan For Our Lives Far Exceeds Our Imagination Or Expectations

"I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Talk about culture shock! When my family and I arrived on the mountain in Garrett County Maryland I felt God certainly had made a mistake. How could a family from Northern Virginia where there were millions of people, cars and houses possibly minister to this laid back community 3,000 feet above sea level? Even though I was praying that God wasn't really calling us to this ministry, I knew the minute we pulled onto the church parking lot that this was going to be our new home!
The next 5 1/2 years are history but the ministry proved to be many things for our family. For me it was a time of incredible spiritual growth and a great lesson that God can use anyone to do anything if we simply are obedient and willing to obey His call on our lives. Jeremiah 29:11, says it all. God has an awesome plan for each of us but so many times we hinder that work. We tend to look at things through our eyes and become discouraged because we only see the possible. Things that seem impossible to us create fear in our lives and many of us will never accept the challenge God has strategically placed before us because it involves risk.
When God planted the burden for youth ministry in my heart shortly after we had accepted the pastorate in Oakland, Maryland, I was totally bewildered and afraid. How could a former banking officer pastor a group of screaming teens who possessed roller coater emotions and raging hormones? I knew absolutely NOTHING about pastoring young people and had absolutely no experience in ministry. I was afraid to accept the risk that God placed before me. But as I began to seek God's face for guidance and direction, He overwhelmed my heart with excitement, new ideas and peace. God equips the called. When He nudges our heart and whispers that it is time for us to step out and do something for the Kingdom, He gives us everything we need to accomplish the task.
Those 5.5 years were some of the most precious memories of my ministry. Our son Brandon and daughter Brooke were a very active part of the youth group. There were times when Brandon stretched his mom more than you can imagine. Yes, those years were more than challenging and I often became weary and discouraged but God was awesome throughout the journey. The youth group became the heartbeat of the church and were very active throughout the community.
I have so many fond memories of those years. Several of the young men (including our son) are now active in ministry. To think that maybe I played a small part in encouraging them to take a risk for Christ excites me even today. What if I would have ignored God's calling? What if I had refused to take that risk? God made the impossible come to life. He wants to do that with all of us.
As this year is quickly coming to a close, I encourage you to pray with expectancy about your role in ministry in 2010. I truly believe that God's desire is to do great things, I encourage you - be willing to take a risk and watch God do the rest. When things look like they are absolutely impossible look up and hold on for the ride of your life. We truly miss so many blessings because we are looking at things through our eyes and not His. Don't restrict Him. Put God first in all things. Seek Him and allow Him to do the impossible and unimaginable with your life and ministry!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tis the Season...........................

Hi Girlfriends!

Decorating the home this week for the holidays. Taking a few days of vacation. Hosting our ladies Bible study tonight, Chocolate, Coffee and Girlfriends!

Pray that you are having an awesome week!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Who Do You Trust?

Recently, I have received numerous emails from pastor's wives who are really going through a difficult and challenging time in their ministry. My heart breaks for these women and their families. Ministry is not always a bed of roses. As many of you who are in ministry know, there are many, many challenges which go along with this profession.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Do you really trust God with ALL your heart? If you and I are honest, we have to admit that there are times when trusting God is not that simple. When there is absolutely no end in sight and it seems our world is crashing in around us, we feel helpless and very alone in our struggles.

God wants you to trust Him even when we do not understand what is going on around us. When the future is everything but clear and you feel as though you cannot go on, God says to trust Him. There are times that the path we travel becomes very obscure and we cannot see what lies ahead. We travel with a degree of uncertainty. Fear often seeks to grip our souls.

In 1989 Geoffrey Gorsuch, while flying his small plane in the midst of a horrible storm, reports that he could barely see 20 feet in front of the plane. On the ground, signals were being transmitted to the five radios and three navigational aids on board the aircraft. These instruments guided the plane through the storm to the runway. There were moments when the confusion in the clouds could have been fatal, times when everything seemed to indicate that the instruments were lying, making panic and pilot error inevitable. But the pilot had been trained to trust the instruments. As the plane broke out of the clouds 100 feet off the runway and in a perfect altitude for landing, all that remained for the pilot to do was to ease back the power and the stick and allow the plane to settle onto the runway. As the emergency vehicles approached with their blaring sirens and flashing lights, the pilot knew they would not be necessary. He had trusted the instruments. And so it is with God. He has endowed us with spiritual instruments to get us through the storms of life. But do we know how to interpret them? And, having received the message, will we trust it with our very lives? That is the essence of faith. ~Geoffrey Gorsuch~

When you lean on something you tend to place your entire weight on it, resting on and trusting in that person or object. No matter how long, how rough, how dark, how lonely the way may seem, trust God and His love for you.

Life places many challenges before us but we can have peace knowing that God is our strength. I have counseled several desperate women this week and truly my heart aches for them. They are treading through some very deep valleys in their lives and I am praying for them but God is their strength, their shield and their source for the solution to what they are dealing with. Sometimes garbage navigates into our lives because we make very poor choices but sometimes God allows us to experience trials for reasons we may never understand. God has a purpose and through it all we must TRUST Him and lean upon Him for guidance, strength and direction.

Blessings friends!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Praying God's blessings upon you today that He will meet all your needs.  May God bless you, your family and your ministry in a very special and intimate way today.

Love ya!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

God Is God

I have been praying about a situation for quite a while. For several nights this "thing" recently has been consuming my life. One night I wasn't able to sleep and I tossed and turned for hours. Finally after praying for what seemed to be hours, I simply asked the Lord to please give me a peace about this situation. No matter what the outcome would be, just give me peace. Shortly after that prayer I fell asleep. When I woke a few hours later to prepare for my day, I did have an overwhelming peace about the "thing" I had been so concerned about. Isn't God amazing? I know that. I really do know that. But sometimes life can be so overwhelming and even though we know God is still on the throne, those "things" tend to consume us. Ministry can be challenging and very stressful and at times we are consumed with those "things". Have you ever been there?

The Lord beautifully worked in that situation and the outcome was something I never imagined. Be encouraged today. God is still in control of our lives and even when we think there is no favorable solution to the problem, God says something totally different!

Thank you Lord for always being there when we call upon your name. You are simply amazing!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Who Is Your Coach?

Confidence is generally described as a state of being certain, either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct, or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective given the circumstances. Confidence can be described as a subjective, emotional state of mind, but is also represented statistically as a confidence level within which one may be certain that a hypothesis will either be rejected or deemed plausible. Self-confidence is having confidence in oneself when considering a capability. Overconfidence is having unmerited confidence--believing something or someone is capable when they are not.

There is a wealth of material available regarding personal inner power and self confidence. I read an article recently that was very disturbing. It was published by a Master Certified Coach and she teaches that self confidence is all about personal power and an inner awareness. An internal state of being if you will. A power that makes us feel in control of our lives. An inner knowing that we are capable of achieving goals and our ability to attain what we want in life. I beg to differ with her philosophy.

As Christians, it isn't about us. Any talent or ability that we posses has been given to us from God. It has nothing to do with us. Our confidence and strength comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one who encourages us to keep fighting the good fight. He encourages us to keep our eyes fixed on Him and to achieve the goal He has set before us. Self-Confidence is a misplaced reliance and it is offensive before the sight of God. We sin against God when we think we can be self-sufficient and the masters of our fate. How many times do we shake our fist in God's face and tell Him we know much better than He does when we defy the Word because it simply does not fit our lifestyle?

God instructs us to study His Word daily so that we can reject the temptations of the enemy. But we think that we have it all together and we choose to trust in OURSELVES and OUR abilities instead of God. Whenever we turn our hearts from God, we are telling Him that we do not want to be connected to His life coaching class. We would rather coach ourselves and rely totally on our own abilities. But in the end all we will have conquered is to commit spiritual suicide. Our life coaching efforts will go right down the drain!

Our source of life is God. God says that anyone who turns away from Him to trust in his own sinful flesh for strength will, "be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt where no one lives" (Jeremiah 17:6).

God tells us of consequences that will occur in this life and the next if we turn our hearts away from him and trust in ourselves. Isolation, deprivation and condemnation are the best we can expect if we choose that path. Bushes in the desert are small and their growth stunted because they are cut off from the rains that give life. Without God and His Word, which is the living water, we also will become like the dry lifeless bush living in a parched wasteland.

Jeremiah writes, "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit" (Jeremiah 17:7-8). God is the exact opposite of a barren wasteland. He gives confidence to His children. God always provided, always delivered, and always responded to the cries of His people for help. Our trust and confidence is often misplaced, often disappointed. Our ideals lie shattered, our goals unattained, our ambitions unfulfilled. In the end, we find that self-reliance and inner power is able to produce nothing but depression and despair. Jeremiah reminds us to place our trust and confidence in God. God has given us His Word so that we can sink our roots firmly into His promises.

God confidence instills self-confidence. There is no inner personal power. Personal power CANNOT move mountains and personal power does not solve problems. Jesus Christ moves mountains. He provides Godly wisdom and coaches us when making life decisions. I rejoice today knowing that my confidence comes from God. He has blessed me with many talents and abilities but I realize that I am nothing without Him. Thank you Lord for being our source, our strength, and our encourager.

Blessings friends!